Last week, I was lucky enough to get a ticket to 'Wired for Wonder', an annual 2-day event hosted by Commonwealth Bank. 'Wired For Wonder' features an impressive line-up of speakers and workshops in the areas of technology, life, business, arts and science. It aims to encourage collaboration, innovation, inspiration and self-discovery. There were also coffee stands. Lots of coffee stands.
So, there I was, sitting spellbound for the entire 10 hours, listening to incredible speakers talking about inspiring ideas, overcoming adversity, polarity of ideas, technology, parenting, innovation and creativity. We were treated to music by Ben Lee and LIOR, opera and comedy. We participated in "DIVE DEEP" workshops where we met in small intimate groups and focused our learning. We practised brainstorming and prototyping and even badge-making.
I laughed and cried (mostly tears of laughter) during Dylan Alcott's talk as he pulled gold medal after gold medal out of the pockets of his wheelchair. Born with a tumour wrapped around his spinal cord, the doctors set to work and removed the tumour. The operation, however, left him a paraplegic and wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. He spoke of being the best version of himself, of not feeling sorry for himself and of making the most of what he could with the cards he was dealt. His positive attitude and ability to look at things from a positive angle was ultimately what pushed him to succeed (and even go crowdsurfing in his wheelchair at festivals).
In psychology, we often use techniques that focus on a person's thoughts to help them change. By changing the way one thinks, we start to change how we feel (from anxious or sad to calmer and happier) and ultimately this leads to a change in the way we behave. I saw in Dylan Alcott's talk the sheer power of thought and will. By believing he could do it, he felt confident and inspired to achieve and he put that into action.
Another highlight for me was the DEEP DIVE session I attended during lunchtime with Fiona Triaca and Sharon Cody. The concept of their workshop was that instead of thinking in order to build, we should build in order to think. Using my hands and creating prototypes and building my ideas (using paper cups, boxes, sticky tape and blue tac) helped to harness my imagination and it got my "creative juices" flowing in a way that writing down ideas on a piece of paper would not have inspired.
It is hard to condense 10 hours of ideas into a few paragraphs. I suppose that for me, the event was about exploring polar opposites, creating cognitive disinhibition and provoking thought, then using these ideas in the context of my own personal and professional world. I think I could sum it up with the tagline embroidered onto the lanyard chain - "I'm weird, I'm wired, I'm wonderful".
Every now and then, we can all benefit from a little bit of inspiration.
A sincere thank you to iAccelerate at the University of Wollongong and Commonwealth Bank for making it possible. Tickets were kindly provided free of charge by these organisations.
From us: our personal blog from QK Staff to you.